As the United States witnesses the transition of one President to the next, it’s worth looking at and comparing the approval ratings between outgoing President Obama and incoming President Trump.
First up is Obama, who leaves office with a 58% approval rating, according to a recent Gallup poll. Outgoing Vice President Joe Biden’s approval is currently at 61%, and Michelle Obama’s is at 68%.
Gallup notes that Obama’s highest rating was leading up to his first Inauguration, with a 78% approval.
Other polls that have been released during Obama’s final days show him with anywhere from a low of 54% (Economist/YouGov, Monmouth) to a high of 62% (CBS News, Rasmussen), according to RealClearPolitics, whose average for Obama is 57.2%.
CNN’s polling info compares Obama’s ratings to other modern presidents. Bill Clinton left office with a 66% approval and Ronald Reagan departed with 64%. Obama’s CNN rating is 60%.
It’s to be expected that new Presidents start out their first term with higher approvals since they haven’t been judged yet on their actions in office.
But that can’t be said for Trump. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, Trump is entering the White House with only a 40% approval from the American people. NBC’s Wall Street Journal poll has him at 38%, which NBC notes is a historic low for a new President.
These low numbers are not surprising, of course, since Trump spent the 2016 election attacking people left and right, including a war hero, a reporter with a disability and many more. Then there’s the inappropriate comments he’s made towards minority groups and women, not to mention the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump boasted about sexual assault.
The election ended with a majority of voters rejecting Trump. He only won with the Electoral College, which is how presidents are elected. He lost the popular vote to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.
Trump does have a Republican Congress to work with, but if his approval numbers stay low and the American people disapprove of how he’s performing as President, it’ll be interesting to see if any Republican members in Congress start distancing themselves from him in order to save their own political futures. The 2018 midterm elections are less than two years away, after all.